Semi final 0012

Bhoys lose on penalties, reserves through to final

By Jay Mwamba

Lansdowne Bhoys will contest the championship match for First Division reserve teams in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League [CSL] June 6 after defeating Barnstonworth Rovers 3-1 in the playoffs at Icahn Stadium last Sunday night.

But there was agony for the Lansdowne firsts who missed out on a place in the CSL title match following a 4-3 penalty loss to Rovers 'A' . The two sides had tied 1-1 in regulation.

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"One of those nights - we couldn't buy a goal," rued coach Paul "Doc" Doherty.

Lansdowne's second unit, drilled by William McGrory, had no such problems cashing in, even as both teams played out the entire second half with ten men. Their reward is a date with the New York Athletic Club-New York Greek-American/Atlas winner at the same ground.

"We fear nobody now but [would] love a crack at NYAC," said Aiden Corr, expressing his teammates' eagerness to face the team that pipped them for the reserve title in the East by one point.

Rovers, on the other hand, finished atop the West standings but couldn't match the Bhoys' early pace.

Chris Hughes drew first blood [15th] for the visitors after chesting a cross from Carlos Abbate, rounding two defenders and firing home.

Shortly before half time, center half Tom Brady and a Rovers player were both ejected. Lansdowne closed ranks and on the hour Jason "The Shot" Kennedy intercepted a ball from the opposing goalie and scored.

Rovers responded with a spell of pressure but Corr, Pauric Byrne, Chris "The Butcher" Hughes and Brady's cover, Richard "Franco Barasi" Hartnett stood firm.

A momentary mix-up, however, resulted in Sam Minaya [70th] pulling one back for the home side.

"We kept it tight after that and broke on the counter with Kevin McGeeney on the left dribbling half the pitch and crossing for Robbie "The Touch" Green to head home," said Corr. "[Rovers] were beat after that."

"There was no individual man of match with the whole team including two subs playing fantastic while sticking to coach McGrory's game plan," Corr added.

Doherty hailed the reserves for their accomplishment. "We're very proud of them," he said.

He had kudos, too, for his first teamers in a tough loss.

Trailing from an Andy Abramovits strike [65th], the Bhoys snatched a late equalizer when Tommy McMenemy and Tommy Smith clicked again for the latter to nod home [85th].

In between, there'd been a succession of missed opportunities and frantic goal-line clearances - five by Doherty's count - that denied Lansdowne a shot at glory.

"We contained them the whole game but just couldn't score," lamented Doherty.

At any rate, it ended in penalties where Conor Hunter, off the mark from three yards with a diving header in regulation [67th]; Shane Moore and Austin Friel converted.

Rovers went one better with Jordan Chirico, Colin Marshall, Ajene Green and Alan Alcade slotting home.

"We kept our cool and our boys came through! Absolutely fantastic!" exclaimed Rovers coach Stavros Zomopoulos, celebrating his team's first ever penalty shoot-out victory.

"An outstanding season for the boys, I'm proud of them," Doherty summed up, consoled by the fact that he'll have his entire squad back next season and with some new blood.

Doherty thanked Lansdowne's sponsor, the Heritage bar in Yonkers its owner Eugene Collum and his staff for their support.

TITLE TILT

The Lansdowne vs. NYAC/Greek-Atlas championship match on June 6 is scheduled for 5 pm at Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island.

Admission will be $5 for adults with children free. Call 201.943.3390 for ticket information.

[PHOTO BY FIONA SMITH The Lansdowne Bhoys reserves squad, back row: Johnny McGeeney, Keith Murphy, Ruben Abatte, Chris Hughes, Aido Corr, Donal Hearty, Brendan Hansbury, Brian Green, Paut Tierney, Pat Diamond; front row: Wille McRory, Robbie Green, Carlos abatte, Richie Hartnett, Kevin McGeeney, mascot Cian and daddy Pauric Byrne, Jason Kennedy, Tom Brady.]